Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park just outside Atlanta has faced scrutiny in recent months because it memorialises aspects of the Civil War, including the Confederate flag and key Confederate leaders.
A carving that depicts three Confederate leaders of the Civil War on horseback – Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the Civil War; General Robert E. Lee; and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson – will remain, according to park board members. People have called the carving a Confederate version of Mount Rushmore.
But park officials have revealed they will move Confederate flags away from the popular walking paths in the park in an effort to appease critics. Georgia law prohibits the complete removal of the flags from the park.
New exhibits would also be introduced to the park “to tell the warts and all history of the Stone Mountain carving,” that includes the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan at the mountain in 1915 “and the 50-years of Klan rallies which followed” until Georgia acquired the mountain and land in 1958, according to a press release.
The logo of the park will also change, officials said, but the new image was not revealed.
These changes were approved on Monday and “intended to begin the process of balancing Stone Mountain Park’s historic mission as a Confederate Memorial, with today’s broader realities of it being metro Atlanta’s largest green space and Georgia’s most visited tourism destination,” according to the association board.
The announcement of the park’s changes has sparked backlash from a variety of critics.
People who called for park officials to completely remove the Confederate carving or expunge other aspects of the park that celebrated the Confederacy and slavery said the changes made were not enough.
Supporters of the monument have also spoken out against any changes to the park.
Park officials have indicated more changes could come in the future.
“I know folks have been waiting for some time to see changes at this beloved state park,” said Reverend Abraham Mosley, chair of Stone Mountain Memorial Association, in the news release. “Additions and changes are coming, but we are on a journey, and we want to get this right.”